As a photographer who works mainly with women, anxiety over physical appearance and low self-confidence are issues I deal with daily.
“But I’ve put on so much weight! I think I should lose at least a stone before we shoot”…
“Can you only photograph me from certain angles so I look skinnier?!”…
“But I always hate the way I look on camera; especially my stomach”…
Sometimes, it makes me sad to think womankind has reached a point where almost every single one of us dislikes – even hates – our body. To me, this just feels so… wrong.
The fact is, none of us look like supermodels. Hell, even the supermodels don’t look like supermodels – they’ve been airbrushed to within an inch of their lives, their legs stretched, eyes enlarged and hips thinned (if you don’t believe me, take a look at this shocking video which shows what happens to a model during a bikini shoot before she is deemed ‘ready to sell’).
So, even though it feels counter-intuitive – subversive even – is it possible for us to start to believe that it’s actually ok not to strive to look like a supermodel? Could it actually be acceptable – good even – to want to look like… you?
Crazy as it sounds, this is what I want for you, me and every woman out there.
I believe we all have the right to feel good in our own skin (in fact, this year I’ll be going on my own journey to lead a revolution in the way we think about these issues).
I want you to know that you ARE beautiful. I want you to know that you don’t have to wait for permission from someone else (whether that’s your mum, the media, or your inner critic) to believe you are radiant, gorgeous, attractive, powerful. I want you to give yourself permission to be all those things – now.
So go outside – feel the sun’s rays on your face and the wind in your hair.
Grab that posh moisturiser you’ve been saving for “special occasions” and smooth it over your magnificent, strong legs that’ve taken you everywhere you’ve ever wanted to go without complaining.
And hold those you love dear in your arms, rejoicing in the feeling of their touch and warmth.
Because THIS is what being in love with your body means. THIS is understanding that you are more than your non-existent thigh gap. THIS is knowing the true meaning of being a woman.
And it’s all here for you, within you. It always has been, just waiting for you to notice it.
So let’s start changing this conversation together. Let’s stand up for our right to be beautiful, even if we’re not a supermodel. And let’s create and share images that celebrate the real you, in all your perfectly imperfect beauty, glory and power.
It’s time. I’m ready. Let’s do this together.
All my love,
P.S. And one other thing? Throw away those magazines. You know – the ones that berate women for being ‘shockingly thin’ and then take close-up paparazzi pictures of others’ cellulite – in the same issue?
The ones that brainwash you into believing that looking like the size 4 models who exist on a diet of coke and cigarettes is what you should be striving for?
The ones that make millions in advertising revenue by consistently telling you you’re simply not enough – unless you buy x, y or z?
Yeah, those ones.
They’re toxic, and you don’t need them in your life. There’s going to be no room for those in your beautiful future, so let them go with love 🙂 Xx